Tobias Wolff is a contemporary master of short fiction, conjuring a full emotional range within the form's compression. His widely-anthologized stories have received three O. Henry Awards and are collected in Back in the World, In the Garden of the North American Martyrs, The Night in Question, and the recent Our Story Begins.
The protagonists of Wolff's short stories often struggle with moral quandaries, unable to reconcile what they know to be true with what they feel to be true. Wolff explores similarly existential themes in his childhood memoir This Boy's Life and In Pharoah's Army, the story of his reluctant Vietnam service.
While he is best known for his short stories and memoirs, Wolff is also the author of the PEN/Faulkner award-winning novella The Barracks Thief and novels including Old School. He currently teaches creative writing at Stanford University- City Arts & Lectures
Vendela Vida is an American novelist, journalist, and editor who lives in San Francisco with her husband, writer and publisher Dave Eggers. She graduated from San Francisco University High School in her hometown before attending Middlebury College as an undergraduate. She received an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University.
She has written three books, Girls on the Verge, And Now You Can Go, and Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name. She co-founded and co-edits the monthly periodical The Believer. She also edited The Believer Book of Writers Talking to Writers.
Tobias Wolff’s books include the memoirs This Boy’s Life and In Pharaoh’s Army: Memories of the Lost War; the short novel The Barracks Thief; the novel Old School, and four collections of short stories, In the Garden of the North American Martyrs, Back in the World, The Night in Question, and, most recently, Our Story Begins: New and Selected Stories. He has also edited several anthologies, among them Best American Short Stories 1994, A Doctor’s Visit: The Short Stories of Anton Chekhov, and The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Short Stories. His work is translated widely and has received numerous awards, including the PEN/Faulkner Award, The Los Angeles Times Book Prize, both the PEN/Malamud and the Rea Award for Excellence in the Short Story, the Story Prize, and the Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Tobias Wolff is the Ward W. and Priscilla B. Woods Professor in the Humanities at Stanford, where he lives with his wife Catherine. They have three children.
Brief fictional prose narrative. It usually presents a single significant episode or scene involving a limited number of characters. The form encourages economy of setting and concise narration; character is disclosed in action and dramatic encounter but seldom fully developed. A short story may concentrate on the creation of mood rather than the telling of a story. Despite numerous precedents, it emerged only in the 19th century as a distinct literary genre in the works of writers such as E.T.A. Hoffmann, Heinrich Kleist, Edgar Allan Poe, Prosper Mérimée, Guy de Maupassant, and Anton Chekhov.